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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Post Holiday Clean Up

I think everyone starts thinking about cleaning up after the holidays. You look around and see all that great new stuff you got for Christmas, the stuff you have looks sad and scruffy, the old model cannot compare to the new. You can't close the dresser drawers, who needs so many tee shirts? Not me! But one of the dangers of doing a big clean out is overdoing a big clean out leading to regret in February when you could just kick yourself for tossing the More Cowbell tee-shirt, it was your favorite! Was too! But you look around, where do you start? A couple of years ago I purged my books, with the ereader my hardcovers were just collecting dust and as I've mentioned before with all the moving we do it just gets tiresome schlepping stuff around when you're not even sure what's in the boxes. So, we are back to starting to rummage through our stuff. 

We were watching a new show a few days ago, it's a reality show  and the cleaning expert is a petite woman who doesn't even look real she's so cute. She doesn't speak English either so she totes an interpreter around with her. Her method is to get everyone to kneel and ask the house permission and it's assistance to help clean. David was having a hard time with that. Then she had them hold each item and reflect on whether it brought them joy. Hmm.. I had a hard with THAT. Why? Well, for instance, if I'm gently clutching my floor mop I have to tell you, it will not bring me a whole lot of joy. However, if I'm gently holding say...... 8 ounces of hand spun lace weight alpaca yarn dyed a lovely shade of lilac, my joy is boundless. We would end up with a house full of yarn, coffee, and knitting bags. You're probably wondering about Bob the cat - that's a roll of the dice. Sometimes when I hold her she fills me with joy, however last week when I was holding her because I caught her trying to revenge puke in my closet there was no joy to be had. I might have been holding her in a tight joyless way actually. 

We've started moving everything out, I"m going through my knitting books, with Ravelry I can just buy the one pattern I want instead of a whole book with one that I like. Clothes of course are next, stuff in general. I donate it all - it makes me feel good that someone else can use it. I try to do it slowly, we've found in the past doing a fast, ruthless purge proves nothing - a month down the road you end up spending money replacing what you needed - so it's our usual work in progress. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year

So, another year. I did not bother making resolutions, either you're going to do or you won't - and why add more stress? This has been an ......interesting year? On one hand I want to say glad that's over but it wasn't all bad, was it? I did accomplish some things and had a lot of fun, there's more coming too. We had a nice Christmas this year, had a lovely visit with Jackson and crew, I passed my exam and now can put CRRN (Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse) after the RN which I'm very excited about. I got a bunch of new kntting stuff for Christmas - Namaste is back in business so I bought a few new bags, I bought a full set of Lykke straight needles as a reward for passing my test. Knitting wise I am a very happy camper. We didn't do too much for New Years Eve - we just hung out and I watched a scary movie, it works for me. However, in retrospect I would not have had a giant cup of tea while I watched the movie because after I went to bed I had to get up of course. In the dark. Alone - at least I hoped I was alone!! It was pretty quick sprint so nothing got me. 

David has been working on the house steadily, it's been raining and cold lately so whenever he can get anything done, he does. So today, the first of the year he's been out there working on the roof. This makes things a bit annoying with Molly&Reuben. If you looked the word "pantywaist" or "pansy" up in the dictionary and there was a picture , it would be a Vizsla. They are the Casper Milky Toasts of the canine world. They also get scared by different pieces of construction equipment. Molly does not like the nail gun, if I'm in the house she's like glue and everytime I stop moving she tries to climb on me - I get a lot done on those days. Weirdly, saws don't bother her at all. 

Reuben fears the compressor and will collect all of his worldly belongings to huddle on the couch with. He refuses to go outside and if you try to make him he goes completely boneless and limp. So I leave him in the house and take Molly out, that makes him anxious as she is probably eating mice and having a grand time. When we get back he's at the door crying because he needs to go out now, so back out we go. Yay. Despite the dogs the house is moving along very quickly now, David has the master bedroom upstairs almost finished and carpeting is down, it won't be long now!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hero Pose

I haven't taken a major exam in years. I was originally scheduled to take the CRRN in June (Certified Rehabilitaion Registered Nurse) but due to multiple personal explosions I realized the chances of my passing were about the same as a Unicorn showing up at my house with a bag of money. The problem is it's only given twice a year - June and December so it was a very hard decision for me as I'd been studying nonstop and delaying it six months.....but as I reviewed my notes I found I could not retain any of it, my mind just went pelting in 900 different directions. And since my job is paying for it let me tell you, there is an extrodinary amount of pressure. Because EVERYONE knows you're taking it, all your supervisors, a whole department knows. And there has been only one person that failed. One.  I did not wish to be the second one to fail. 
I waited.

I scheduled for the last day possible in December as we had planned to travel to Washington state earlier in the month. I could have done it prior to our vacation but if I didn't pass what a sad hamster I would have been for our trip! Eek. I'd been studying all along but when I got back I ramped it up, Christmas found me with a review book and a list of cranial nerves. I was scheduled to take it on 12/27 at 8am in Pittsburgh so I left work a little early the day before. I had rented a hotel room about 5 miles from the test site as it's about an hour and a half drive with no traffic from my house - with traffic it's about 3 days, give or take. I located the test site, drove to my hotel and settled in to continue studying. The hotel is very close to CHP which I had not realized, but it explained why my room had a full kitchen in it. That was fun by the way even though I had not planned on cooking. 

I arrived at the test site a little early to go over my notes one last time. Since with all the fun technology people have gotten very creative with cheating, taking these tests is not an easy task. You sign in, everyone goes in a group to the room, you sign in again. When you're called you sign in again, show ID, get your picture taken, all of your belongings are taken and locked up. You are warned against talking, looking at other people, staying in your cubical, if you need to go to the bathroom there is only one allowed, you're on video monitors at all times. You're not even allowed to bring your own pencil! The test was 175 questions - certification tests to me are the most difficult. You only have to taken one, but they require you to know an ocean full of information for a thimble full of answers including Homogeneous hemiagnosia - why yes, I did panic a little, thank you for asking. At the end you hit the submit test button, I took a deep breath and made myself do it -  I could have gone over the anwers til the end of time but I know if I review them more than once I'll start changing them. And then change them again. and again. I sat there while it calculated thinking about  rescheduling to take it again in June, paying another testing fee.........

I passed. 

It prints out a sheet stating this fact and I kept thinking it should print out a Tee Shirt that says I DID TOO PASS, the relief! Followed by the elation! All that studying paid off.  I called my mentor from the parking lot and she picked up on the first ring. Then I texted my directors, then.... I went home. Because I was beyond fried. I did go to the graveyard nearby for a victory lap and then home. I am so glad that's done, 
and I am very, very proud of myself. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nonstop Action

The twins are two now - it's amazing how much they change from visit to visit. They talk, they run, want to help out - they never stop. Staying with toddlers is a bit like having a somewhat naughty octopus follow you around all the time.  Every time you pick something up twenty fingers need to see, they slide around your plate, slink under doors that are closed since you're obviously doing something amazing. When they want down or refuse to do what is asked they squid away and slide to the floor in liquid form. But two is such a fun age, they giggle and shriek, thank yous are solemn. When they fall (frequently) they shout OK! in those hilarious baby voices

They dress like lunatics. 

When we got to visit we spend a great deal of time babysitting - we get up with the girls so their parents can sleep in. We sent Brandi and Jackson out a couple of times for the day so they could have some time to shop, eat a meal, just sit. We spent time together, we went to the beach a couple of times between the rain drops - it's that time of the year there, we made one attempt at out to dinner but with kids it's a crap shoot at best. We lasted about long enough for the food to hit the table, then one decided she wished to go trick or treating, the other one was on board with that and they both ended up in the lobby while Papa paid the tab and Dada boxed up the food to take home. I'm glad to see though that Brandi and Jackson don't have an issue with that, Brandi said sometimes you can make it through the whole meal, other times not so much.

But I'd rather pack it up and go than subject an entire restaurant to two unhappy screaming kids. I don't get when parents do that - are you really having any fun? And what kind of point are you making to a toddler? Ugh. But it was so much fun to spend time with all of them, it goes so fast!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

All In A Day

It's been hard with Jackson and Brandi living so far - but one of the things that compensates for it is I've probably seen Kim and Stephen more in the past 3 years than I have in the past 35 years. Kim and I have known each other since elementary school and have been best friends since high school. She got married and moved to Virginia when we graduated, they move to Vermont. We moved to West Virginia. Billrica for them, the Poconos for us. Oregon - Pennsylvania. We've been bouncing all over but we've never lost contact. Phone calls, letters, texts, Facebook, we rarely go more than a week without some contact even if it's just  a sentence or a call on my way home from work. 

All of our visits here they've missed just one. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate their taking the time to drive the 5 hours up to Whidbey Island to spend a couple of days with us twice a year. I know they'd love for us to come see Thieu home but they also understand how limited our time is with the girls and thier parents so they make the trek up to us. This time around they stayed in Coupeville, a small touristy waterfront town about 20 minutes from here. They did the AirBNB and were pretty pleased with it, $79 off season got them a lovely townhouse overlooking the water. They came over yesterday morning and we had a brunch with everyone. Delilah and Chloe were in their glory, all these adults paying attention to them plus all the bacon you could eat to boot. The girls are getting old enough that they remember people and were happily going from lap to lap.

After we went back to Coupeville just to walk around the village - I'm sure in the summer it's overrun with visitors! Lots of little gift and art stores, I bought a couple of things. There's a yarn and gift shop and I got a skein of hand dyed sock yarn, the owner told us the merchant community is very upset with the mayor who is allowing the street construction during the holiday shopping season. She said it's hard enough to stay afloat during the off season and now there's no parking and no through fair. After we finished shopping we headed back to Oak Harbor - you do NOT want to eat in Coupeville, it's super expensive! We had looked at one which appeared to be a local bar and grill so I pulled it up on Yelp. The reviews described it as a "local dive" and the lunch prices were about $20 a meal for what appeared to be standard bar fare. Yikes! The day was spent catching up, we literally talked all day about everything, it was wonderful. This morning we saw them for breakfast before hugging them tightly goodbye, I'm sad we really only get one day, but what a day we get. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

So Far So Good

The trip here was good - not sure if it was just a good flight or we're getting used to this routine. The only bump in the road was my phone - I had set my alarm for 1:30am to make sure we had time - isn't that crazy for a 6 am flight? But we have to get up and dressed, it's about an hour to the airport, drop off the  car at Globe Parking (that is the only place we park!) then arrive two hours prior to the flight so 1:30am it is. Right before I went to bed I checked my phone and went to respond to a text - it was stuck in No Service, Emergency calls only mode. ARRGH! It's done this before so that meant scouring the internet to remember how to get it out. The last time this happened I just took the battery out but this phone has a non removable battery of course. After about 45 minutes I gave it up, I needed to get to sleep and nothing was working. At first I couldn't sleep because it stressed me out so badly - but David has a phone and it was not the end of the world so I gave it up and feel asleep.
The Phone Fairies fixed it. 
We dropped the car off at Globe Parking and yes this is shout out to them - they get your luggage out of the car for you, completely fast and efficient, they even have oil change, car cleaning services for while you're gone, drive you to the airport and drop you off at your gate. When we get home they pick up and in the winter your car is warmed up and waiting for you - plus they're much cheaper than parking at the airport, can't beat that, can you?

The only great thing about having to get there two hours is it gives you tons of time to drink coffee. The first flight was short but fun, the plane was only half full, David and I were sitting in separate aisles - I was going to ask him to sit with me but he was already deep in his book so we both enjoyed a full row of seats. The next flight was full and very long, almost 5 hours. But I had my knitting, David had his Robert B. Parker books to keep him entertained, it was relaxing. We arrived with about an hour before the shuttle came - we don't rent a car because most of the time we're with the family and we are welcome to borrow a vehicle. It's a two hour plus ride even with the shuttle, but it's a very pleasant one. The ferry ride is the best, the lake we cross is huge and breathtaking,and of course there's coffee. The drop off is about 20 minutes from Jackson and Brandi's house, the girls were napping when we got here but it gave us time to get settled in and to see Jackson and Brandi. The best part now  is they both remember us - we video chat with them quite often too. But they came running in yelling Nana and Papa to give big hugs and kisses, worth every mile we had to fly. We're seeing Kim and Stephen tomorrow, they're driving up from Oregon and we'll spend the day with them, family and best friends - you can't ask for more,
can you?